Friday, November 13, 2015

America Recycles Day!

Did you know that America Recycles Day is on November 15th?  If you've been a follower of mine for awhile, you know how much I try to promote recycling items into new ways.  It's a part of my teaching philosophy as well as my life and family philosophy.  Why waste?  Because it's easier?  Because we are lazy?  Because there aren't enough resources around?  The answer shouldn't be any of those, but sadly it's sad too many times.  I'm really trying to educate children into the importance of reusing so that they won't need to use any of those excuses not to recycle or reuse!

A company called Cotopaxi has this super cool info graphic that I wanted to share with you. Below you will see a super cool idea on how to recycle old clothes into NEW LIFE!  I especially love the electronic device case.  That would make an awesome homemade gift for someone!

If you've never heard of Cotopaxi, you should really give them a look see.  They have some fantastic backpacks made of re-purposed materials!  I love a company that helps others and the environment.

And in case you want some more ideas about how we reuse in our classroom check out a few:

**I did not receive any compensation for this post. I just really love companies that share my philosophy.  

Friday, October 30, 2015

Pumpkin Necklace

I had the children make 2 quick pumpkin necklaces.  Both are very quick!  I try really hard to find supplies I already have on hand (which frankly, is too much) and buy very little.  You'd be surprised what you can come up with if you just look around your cabinets.  It's even easier if you're only looking for one or two children, not a whole classroom supply! :)

Marshmallow Pumpkin Necklace #1

Materials: Craft Marshmallows (I found these in our shed, but I've seen them at craft stores and Amazon)
Hot Glue

Paint and let it dry. Usually doesn't take more than a few hours.  If you are in a rush and are able, put it out in the sun!

After it dries use something with a firm point to make a hole near the top.  I used a nail.  Put a dot of hot glue inside and push your string (open sides) into the hole.  Then put a bit more hot glue on top and put a bead on top to secure. I also tied a knot, but I'm sure it's not necessary.  

You can leave it as is or draw a jack o lantern face.  This is a picture of my son (hubby sent this to me while I was at work) proudly wearing his!

Spool Pumpkin Necklace #2

Paint or Construction Paper
Hot Glue

Depending on your spool you can either paint it (if it's a plastic spool use acrylic paint) or wrap it with construction paper.

When you are ready to string it tie a large knot in the yarn and then hot glue it to the middle of the spool.  See the top?  Or you could pull it all the way through to the bottom.

Again, leave it as is or draw a face!

Have a safe and Happy Halloween!

Need more Halloween Ideas?  Check these out!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Oil Pastel Fall Leaves

So, we live in the desert.  We don't get the beautiful fall leaves that everyone is gushing about.  We can see them if we drive 2 hours north into the mountains.  But, here in the valley we have blooming cacti, trees that rarely turn colors and rock landscaping.  It's beautiful in it's own way.  I have a tree in my front yard with decent sized leaves.  They do turn a beautiful February.  Then less than a month later blooms.  Crazy desert life.

I've seen so many talented bloggers/artists decorate leaves with paints, chalk markers and gel pens resulting in beautiful art.  We first tried painting our leaves.  After it dried the color blended into the leaves and flaked off.  Ugh.  Back to my art supplies.  Chalk didn't work ( I guess my leaves are too waxy).  Then I tried one of my most favorite mediums, oil pastels.  Oh!  Did it turn out lovely!

Since fall leaves don't come to us, we were just going to bring it ourselves!  I set out fall colors and a pile of leaves.  We then discovered if you rubbed the pastel on its side it would reveal all the veins in the in the leaf! Hello science lesson!!

I didn't want to let these beauties dry out, so I laminated them.  So far, after about 6 days they are still looking vibrant!  

Monday, October 26, 2015

Wipe and Resist Leaf Art

I was going to have my class do a simple art with watercolor and crayon.  But I was feeling lazy.  I already had tempera paints out from earlier and didn't feel like cleaning those brushes and getting out new ones....blah, blah, blah.

Then and idea hit me!  What if we used these paints over the crayon and then wiped off the paints?  By golly, it worked!  And it made some gorgeous art, too.

When we got down to doing the art project I actually used an oil pastel instead of crayon because it works much faster (remember I was feeling lazy).

After each child was finished painting, we took a paper towel and swiped the paint off.  It left a beautiful rainbow of colors behind!

We cut around the leaves and hung them around the room.  Bright and cheery fall!

You can do any type of picture and it works great!  I did a quick pumpkin, as well.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Felt Salad!

This past week in preschool we talked (a lot) about grocery stores and what we like to buy from them.  This led to discussions about healthy eating and better choices we need to make.  Especially trying new foods.

Here is a super cute "invitation to create" art activity we made.

 I gathered all my scrap felt, cut them into random shapes and then had the children help me sort them into strawberry baskets (my own personal favorite recycle material!). 

The larger green pieces led the children to lettuce and the smaller pieces became the toppings.  Using "gooey glue" we smothered the felt layer by layer until they deemed their salad "delicious"!

When the children were finished, I had them drizzle dressing (more glue) over the salad.  This extra glue helps set any loose felt pieces.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Apple Tree Puppet

I love fall.  Pumpkins, cooler temps, Halloween, crunchy leaves and APPLES! Apples must be a comfort food for me because I need to have apples in my house all the time.  Apples is also such a fun unit to learn about in preschool.  We did some fun stuff, too!  Like this super cute apple tree puppet.  5 weeks later and we still use it at circle time.  At the end of the post I'll tell you how we use it!

Super simple to make!

Paper Bag
Scrapes of paper for leaves
Circle stamper (we used wine corks...the PERFECT stamper!)
Paint (apple colors: red, green, yellow or pink)

Have your child either cut or tear the paper to make leaves.  Both exercise their little hands! Glue the leaves to your bag.  Make sure you don't glue over the bottom fold!

Next up...stamp your apples!

So, here is what we do during circle time.

We mimic the song "Who Took The Cookies From The Cookie Jar" and replace Cookie for Apple and Cookie Jar for Apple Tree.

The children LOVE seeing the apple tree sing to them in a silly "tree voice".  :)


Tree: Who took the apples from the apple tree?  Spencer took the apples from the apple tree!

Spencer: Who me?

Tree: Yes, you!

Spencer: Couldn't be!

Tree: Then who?

Spencer: Lyla!

Then tree continues until each child has had a chance and then at the end, I (Ms. Jessi) have taken the apples from the apple tree.  And then sometimes....we have apples for snack!  Hahaha!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

DIY Large Scale Flannel Board

I love using flannel boards in my classroom.  I made small individual boards for the children, but sometimes bigger is better. :)

I came across a large piece of chipboard and knew I could use it for a flannel board.  The material is light enough for a child to drag  move around the room and it's skinny enough to store behind a book shelf when not in use.

First I cut a piece of felt about 3 inches larger than the board.  I had this nice green on hand.

Next using a sponge brush and modge podge (tacky glue would work well, too) I painted sections of the chipboard, shiny side. Lay your felt carefully over the board and smooth over with a ruler or other item with a clean edge.

After the front was smooth enough I flipped the board over and attempted to use the modge podge again.  The back side of the chip board is very rough and apparently porous, so I opted to hot glue the back edges, which has worked out fine.

It took awhile for the board to dry, but once it did the felt did not budge!

I came across some vintage educational items (thanks, T4T!) which included some AWESOME flannel graphs.  Fun!